Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Upcoming event

Join us on Saturday July 14th for Westiva 2012.

Westiva has primarily been targeted for the Festiva but this year we have decided to invite owners, fans and fanatics of other cars from the econobox era. Although our interests are in different cars we face some of the same issues... aftermarket support, parts availability, people asking "why bother"... you get the idea.
Bring the family and a picnic lunch to the Wedge Pond Day Use Area in Alberta's beautiful Kananaskis Country. Things get started at 10:00am and after lunch we’ll cruise up to the Boulton Creek Trading Post in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park for ice cream and then continue on to Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Festivas from as far away as Ontario and Wyoming have made the trip out for past events. You can expect to see everything from one owner originals to highly modified cars and everything in between.

For more information drop an e-mail to or check out the Meets and Events section at
We have been blessed with awesome weather for the past four years and the long term forecast looks great!

Here are some photos from past meets...

Westiva 2008 with "the Wedge" in the background.
Westiva 2011 from the top of "the Wedge"
Westiva 2010
Westiva 2010

So whether you own a Festiva, an Aspire, a Metro, a Swift, a Colt, a Champ, a Micra, or any other econobox come out and see what all the fuss is about! There may even be a Japanese Kei car in attendance.

In fact you don't have to own an econobox to attend. Just come out and enjoy the day!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Festiva in the Park: Day 15 homeward bound

FRIDAY JUNE 15th, 2012

Day 15 is the last leg of our "Festiva in the Park" road trip.

Encountered the only glitch with the car on yesterdays drive... we must have lost a wheel weight somewhere along the way because we developed a really bad vibration at highway speeds. This morning I found a tire shop only a block or so from the hotel, had both front wheels rebalanced and was back in time for breakfast. I was quite impressed with the service I got at the tire shop... thank you Tire-Rama on Cedar Street in Helena!!

We left Helena after a hearty breakfast and made our way north with Great Falls in our sights.

Between Helena and Great Falls MT

Once in Great Falls we made our way to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We were pleasantly surprised when we discovered that our annual National Parks Pass was valid for admission! Learned a lot about Great Falls and the hardships the Lewis and Clark expedition faced in the area. When they arrived here in 1805 the five falls presented a massive barrier. The portage took almost a month instead of the day or two they planned and took them about 18 miles overland lugging ALL their equipment supplies and boats with them.

No caption needed!

E signing the guest book.

I grabbing the bull by the horns.....

One of many informative plaques...

Sharon and me in Great Falls, smiling on the banks of the Missouri River.

Three of the five falls now have dams over them, a fourth one has disappeared behind one of those dams and the only remaining falls visible is not really so great. We really enjoyed our time here but we are all ready to head home. We made a stop in Shelby MT to pick up some lunch and 24 cans of Cherry Coke to take home with us. This part of the trip is a repeat of last falls "Festiva Madness" trip but without the rain. Our border crossing was uneventful and it didn't take long to readjust to the metric road signs.

Bluer skies that we experienced last fall.

At the border

Almost home.....

Thank you Mr. Horton.... we missed you.

We did have one stop we wanted to make before we got home... thank you Garmin GPS to directing us to the first Tim Horton's we'd seen in two weeks!!!

Skyline of the City of Calgary

Welcome home!

Got into Calgary at the tail end of rush hour and pulled up to home-sweet-home at around 7:15.

Here's some info for the statistically minded:

5 people and their luggage
15 days
9 states and 2 provinces

Total tolls paid: $11.00 ($6.00 Golden Gate Bridge plus $5.00 Richmond-San Rafael Bridge)
Average hotel per night: $92.00
Distance traveled: 8397 km / 5218 miles
Lowest elevation: 22m / 72 feet below sea level in the George Massey Tunnel
Highest elevation: 3030m / 9941 feet at Tioga Pass coming out of Yosemite
Fuel consumed: 533.1 liters / 140.83 US gallons
Consumption rate: 6.35 liters per 100km / 37.1 miles per US gallon.
Most expensive gas: $1.434 per liter / $5.428 per US gallon in Vancouver BC
Least expensive gas: $0.938 per liter / $3.549 per US gallon in Flagstaff AZ
Total fuel costs: $604.45
Average gas price: $1.134 per liter / $4.293 per US gallon

One of the many things we discussed is what's next?  I think we've narrowed it down to another trip east across Canada to Prince Edward Island, down through New York and home across Minnesota or head south through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. But that's not til next year. In the meanwhile, watch this space for some shorter trips and more about the cars of the Econobox Cafe era.

Thanks for joining us on this trip. We have been blessed with many experiences in many awesome parts of God's creation!

Festiva in the Park: Day 14

THURSDAY JUNE 14th, 2012

Here we are with a long overdue post. We've already been home for a week... where does the time go?!?

We had a great visit with Jeff, K and family. Thank you for your hospitality!

Jeff, K, B, I, E and me before we hit the road for the day.

Approaching Cody WY

The morning of day 14 finds us driving west and north from Worland to Cody WY. Our target for the day is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  

B, E and I at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

What an awesome place to visit! Admission covers two days and it is easy to see how you could spend that amount of time there. We tried to make the best of our short visit. The center consists of five separate museums: The Buffalo Bill Museum, one focusing on the natural history of Yellowstone, the Plains Indians Museum, a Western Art Museum, and the Firearms Museum. This last one was the favorite for most of us. It contains the most comprehensive collection of firearms in North America. It traces the history of firearms from the simple flintlocks to modern day machine guns. 

Getting ready for the Calgary Stampede.

E won't be outdone!

B enjoying the Firearms Museum

This a place that would be well worth the trip on its own. You could easily spend two full days and still probably not see it all!

I printing a bookmark on a period press.

It's him... it's really him!!!

Following our visit to Buffalo Bill we hit the highway to Helena MT. Our first impression of Montana's roads was not a favorable one. We hit a stretch that, rather than repair/replace one side of the road then the other, they ripped up the entire width. We traversed this construction site for about ten or fifteen miles before hitting real pavement again.

First impression of Montana highways!

Lots of trains.
One thing we've noticed in both Wyoming and Montana is a large number of trains.

We reached Helena, out last overnight stop of this trip, in good time. We had chosen a bit of a higher rated hotel for this last night and it wasn't a disappointment. Not only was it nicer than most of the places we've stayed in so far, we also earned 1000 bonus Wyndham Rewards points!

Day 15 is the last leg of this road trip. One more "touristy" stop along the way and then home!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Festiva in the Park: Day 13


Last night's hotel was the nicest of the trip so far. Once we had our breakfast and packed up the car we hit the road for our next destination... Yellowstone National Park. 

Welcome to Yellowstone NP

Festiva in the Park

Our first stop was the Midway Geyser Basin. There are a number of geysers and springs at this spot, the main ones being the Excelsior Geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring.  Excelsior was once the largest geyser In the world. However, the last known major eruptions occurred during the 1880s, when there were numerous eruptions up to 300 feet. The violent eruptions of the 1880s may have caused damage to the siliceous sinter lining, allowing gas leakage and the loss of thermal energy. No observed eruptions were known until 1985 when it erupted for two days. However, it only obtained a height of 20-80 feet. Excelsior is now a productive thermal spring with temperatures reaching199°F and presently discharging 4050 gallons per minute.

B, Sharon, I and E at Excelsior... yes it was a little windy.

Color everywhere...
The Grand Prismatic Spring is considered the third largest in the world, after two larger ones located in New Zealand. It's cooler than Excelsior with temperatures ranging from 142-160°F.

Grand Prismatic Spring... photo sourced at NCass Yellowstone Blog
Next stop on our drive through the park was the visitor center and Old Faithful. Our timing worked out very well as the benches around the geyser were starting to fill up in anticipation of the next eruption. We only had to wait about 10 or 15 minutes and Old Faithful didn't disappoint. One of the rangers told us that we were treated to a "blow" of about 140 feet, well above the average of 130 feet.

Not quite at its peak.

I, B and E just after Old Faithful settled down.

We spent a bit of time in the visitor center and gift shop, grabbed a snack and headed east. The drive both in from the west and out to the east is worth the trip by itself. Well maintained roads and a relatively low speed limit helped us to get the best gas mileage for the entire trip. Our route took us through Cody and then south to Worland where we would stay the night with our Festiva friend Jeff and his daughter. Arrived in Worland at 6:00pm, right on schedule, and enjoyed a great meal. Spend the rest of the evening visiting with Jeff and K, as well his parents and aunt. 

B and K showing off one of their many strengths!

Tomorrow it's off to visit Buffalo Bill Cody!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Festiva in the Park: Day 12

TUESDAY JUNE 12th, 2012

Day 12 finds us driving from Provo UT to Idaho Falls ID. Our original plan was to head directly up to Craters of the Moon National Monument but Sharon discovered something in Pocatello ID that she wanted to see... Don Aslett's Museum of Clean! Don Aslett is known for being a big promoter of clean having started a cleaning business at the age of 18 (he's 76 as I write this) and that company has expanded to work all over the world. We had a blast... Don himself took us around the place. It's a work in progress having just opening a couple of months ago. Most of the items on display are from his personal collection which he's amassed over the almost 60 years in the cleaning business. I just asked B to sum up her visit in one word... "awe inspiring" was her answer. OK that's two words but you get the idea!

Welcome to Idaho.

The Museum of Clean in Pocatello ID.

We stopped for a quick lunch in Pocatello and drove out to Craters of the Moon National Monument. First stop... the visitor center. Watched the video presentation and learned some of its history. We then headed up the little loop road and stopped at a couple of the view points and short walks. This place is incredible... it's hard to imagine an area so desolate in the middle of the plains! During the heat of summer the air temperature can reach 100°F but the surface will reach upwards of 150°F!! I'm glad we were there on a warm, rather than hot, day!

Me, B, Sharon, I and E at Craters of the Moon National Monument

Splatter cone...

I, B and E looking down into a splatter cone at.....

... snow!!!

One thing that really struck me is the many different kinds of lava. Lots of different colors and textures, shapes and sizes!

Festiva in the Park.

Volcanoes on the plain.

On the way into Idaho Falls we noticed a large number of remnants of volcanoes! I wouldn't want to be in the area if one of these decided to blow. Tomorrow... Yellowstone and Worland WY.

Festiva in the Park: Day 11

MONDAY JUNE 11th, 2012

We are feeling really tired after the harrowing drive the other night and spending the day in Zion National Park so we decided to drop our planned visit to Bryce Canyon in favor of a stroll in historic downtown Cedar City and a leisurely drive up to Provo, our next overnight stop.

Welcome to Cedar City UT.
I ready to head out!

Me, I, B and E in downtown Cedar City UT

B, E and I... Cedar City UT
We grabbed a bun and a drink at a local bakery and headed north on I-15 to Provo. We did spot a white Festiva as we were leaving. It looked to be in great shape, had some graphics on the side and a custom exhaust. We were too far behind to catch up before we turned onto the Interstate so unfortunately we didn't get a photo.

Once we got onto the Interstate I saw a sign that I thought said "speedometer test section ahead" but was surprised when the speed limit jumped up to 80mph (129kph). I realized then that the sign had said "speed LIMIT test section ahead".

Speed limit test section on Utah's I-15

I think I can... I think I can... I know I can! ... and that's with
five in the car and the A/C blowing cold!
After settling in our hotel and grabbing a bite to eat we headed off to a local picnic area at Provo's Bridal Veil Falls. It was a short walk from the parking lot to the spot where you can see the falls.

Welcome to Provo!

If you look closely you can see I and E climbing the lower portion of the falls
I, B and E at Provo's Bridal Veil Falls

E, B, Sharon, I and me at the falls.

Thanks to the young lady who took this picture... she had to lean out quite a way over the water to take it.

That wraps up Day 11. Tomorrow we continue our northward trek and end up in Idaho Falls.